Norwegian’s future strategy becomes clear

Airline wants to close gap on Ryanair and easyJet

As Norwegian announces a 25% rise in revenues for the third quarter and a 27% rise in net profits, plus the launch of new bases at London Gatwick and Alicante from spring 2013, the low-cost carrier’s strategy behind the massive firm order for 222 narrowbody planes is becoming clearer. The broadening of the airline’s base network, from Scandinavia to central and southern Europe, comes at the same time as its preparations to start long-haul flights with 787 Dreamliners. The first 787 is scheduled for delivery in April 2013 and the carrier is preparing a crew base for long-haul operations in Bangkok. Norwegian also set up a separate subsidiary, Norwegian Long Haul AS, to protect its overall operations if the long-haul project goes wrong.
The airline has also applied to begin services to the USA. CAPA believes that its first long-haul services are likely to be New York JFK and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi from Oslo and Stockholm, with a Miami service to follow.
The moves could make Norwegian a serious low-cost network airline. It already has 120 destinations across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Norwegian is currently the third biggest LCC in Europe, carrying 15.7 million passengers last year, and wants to close the gap on Ryanair and easyJet. It is already beating Ryanair in Las Palmas, and London Gatwick is significant as it is easyJet’s largest base.
[photo courtesy Boeing/Norwegian]